Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick as Manchester United came from two goals down to take all three points
Yes, yes, I'm late. But the thing is, I knew you were waiting and I decided to have a cup of tea anyway. Here are the teams ...
West Ham: Green, Jacobsen, da Costa, Upson, Bridge, O'Neil,
Parker, Noble, Hitzlsperger, Cole, Ba.
Subs: Boffin, Reid, Tomkins, Spector, Piquionne, Obinna, Keane.
Man Utd: Kuszczak, Fabio Da Silva, Smalling, Vidic, Evra,
Valencia, Gibson, Carrick, Park, Giggs, Rooney.
Subs: Amos, Owen, Anderson, Berbatov, Hernandez, Nani, Gill.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
• West Ham have lost their last five league games against United without scoring a goal
• A defeat for West Ham would be their 250th of all time in the Premier League
• Javier Hernández has scored four headed goals from just five headed shots on target
• Scott Parker has scored more league goals this season than in the last three combined
• United have scored with 18% of their shots – the best conversion rate in the division
In the Sky Sports Studio. West Ham treasure Trevor Brooking is in the studio. Younger readers might be interested to know that he headed the winner in the 1980 FA Cup final, which is strange because he didn't score many headers, you know?
Sir Alex Ferguson speaks: "It's not an easy place to come to because they're fighting for their lives in a relegation scenario, so it's a tough game for Manchester United and a big, big game ... Edwin van der Sar is out with a tweak in his groin but he should be ready for the Champions League match during the week ... thanks Geoff."
Sir Trevor Brooking speaks: "Yeah, I fear for my club's future, but at the moment you could argue there's eight clubs in the mire and I think Newcastle v Wolves is also a huge game today."
Not long now: As West Ham's fans strike up a rousing rendition of I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles, the teams line up in the tunnel, before click-clacking their way out on to the pitch. West Ham are wearing their usual home strip, United's players are kitted out in white shirts with red not-quite-epaulettes on their sleeves, black shorts and black and red socks.
West Ham kick off, playing from right to left as the camera looks on the pitch. In the stands, West Ham legend Paolo Di Canio is giving his own enthusiastic rendition of I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles, while wearing mirror shades.
2 min: Matthew Upson tries to welly the bouncing ball down the field, but succeeds only in hoofing the ball straight up in the air. Wayne Bridge attempts to give him a dig-out, but Manchester United win a corner they scarcely deserved. Giggs swings it towards the far post, where Chris Smalling brings a smartish save out of Rob Green with a header. Another corner for United.
3 min: Same old, same old. Giggs sends the ball into the mixer, but this time Smalling heads wide of the target.
4 min: Wayne Bridge goes down in a heap on the touchline halfway inside the Manchester United half, after a "robust" challenge from Fabio Da Silva. Free-kick for West Ham, which Thomas Hitzlsperger swings into the penalty area. Tomasz Kuszczak darts off his line to pluck the ball from the air, reminding me in the process that I cannot think of a single word I have ever heard or uttered that is more difficult to type than "Kuszczak".
8 min: For anyone who's interested, my colleague Sean Ingle and I were discussing this game before it kicked off. He reckoned West Ham might get a result, I think Manchester United will win easily. Then we saw the line-ups. He still thinks West Ham will get a result, I think Man Utd will win.
Penalty for West Ham! Patrice Evra handles in the area while tussling for possession with Carlton Cole.
GOAL! West Ham 1-0 Man Utd (Noble 11pen) Noble sends Kuszczak the wrong way, slotting an outswinger into the bottom left-hand corner, before running to one of the TV cameras and kissing the lens. West Ham are one up!
13 min: I've just seen a replay of the penalty incident and Manchester United can have no grumbles. The ball was hoofed towards the Man Utd penalty area and after failing to to play Carlton Cole offside, Evra got in a bit of a dither and clearly handled while attempting to prevent Cole from controlling the ball and getting a shot off. The goal's come very much against the run of play, as West Ham were being bossed early doors.
15 min: Da Costa prods the ball wide of his own goal after a dangerous low cross from Valencia on the right flank had eluded Rob Green. That could have gone anywhere! Corner for United, from which nothing comes.
17 min: A wayward pass from Darron Gibson arrives at the feet of West Ham right-back Lars Jacobsen. He gifts possession back to Valencia and United win a corner. Giggs delivers the ball into the penalty area and West Ham clear.
18 min: Another corner for Manchester United, after Da Costa hacks wide of his own goal with Park and Giggs lurking. Once again, nothing comes of it. Manchester United might be losing this match, but they're - mixed metaphors ahoy! - turning the screw and hammering the, eh, Hammers.
20 min: Corner for West Ham, after Smalling prods the ball wide of his own goal after Carlton Cole tried to thread a through-ball into the path of Carlton Cole. Nowt comes of it. And what's this? WEST HAM WIN ANOTHER PENALTY!!!
GOAL! West Ham 2-0 Manchester United (Noble 24pen) Another beauty from Noble, who blasts the ball into the top right-hand corner. Lee Mason awarded the penalty after Nemanja Vidic had tripped Carlton Cole right on the edge of the penalty area. Assorted United players protested that the infringement took place outside the box, but replays show that the referee called it correctly. West Ham 2-0 Manchester United - who'd a thunk it, eh?
27 min: United's players are visibly rattled - it's understandable, as they've been vastly superior throughout, but find themselves 2-0 down. Park tries to thread the ball through to Rooney and Matthew Upson hacks clear. It's returned with interest and United win a corner, then another ...
29 min: Giggs sends in the ball, Carrick flicks it on and ... referee Lee Mason blows for an infringement and awards West Ham a free-kick.
29 min: "I'm still feeling slightly distorted, although pizza and orange juice helped," writes Edson. "I have a question for you; In what way do you think James Joyce's Ulysses challenged social conventions?" I might open that one to the floor, Edson - I'm feeling slightly distorted myself and don't have the benefit of pizza and orange juice. Besides, not only have I not read Ulysses, I don't even bother pretending to have read it.
31 min: From the inside-right position, Rooney sends the ball across the face of the West Ham goal, low and hard. It's cleared, but only as far as Park, on the edge of the penalty area. He takes two touches to steady himself and tee up the shot, before sending a rasping drive goalwards. Green keeps it out with a fine reflex save.
33 min: "Intriguing match, but the minute-by-minute is being hard to follow by a Playtex Bra-Ad on the page running in a constant loop," writes Ryan Dunne. "Is everyone else getting this or just me? 'Follow Our Step by Step Guide to Getting the Right Fit' indeed. And surely Szczęsny is a trickier name to type than Kuszczak? It has a funny accent and everything. Personally I always thought Vidic would seem even more of a hard-man if he added a metal umlaut to his name, Spinal Tap style."
35 min: You'd have bet the farm on West Ham going 3-0 up there, as - I think - Gary O'Neilsent in a looping cross from the right flank. It dropped perfectly for Thomas Hitzlsperger, who'd escaped from Michael Carrick and galloped into the Manchester United penalty area. Unmarked and with only Tomasz Kuszczak to beat, the German met the dropping ball on the volley, only to smash it wide with his left foot.
38 min: Manchester United continue to press West Ham, but are looking fairly toothless up front and creating increasingly less in the way of chances. Antonio Valencia drives forwards on a diagonal run, taking the ball into the West Ham penalty area on the right-hand side. He pings a cross towards the far post, but it's cleared by Upson.
40 min: Nemanja Vidic gets a yellow card, which probably should have been red. He gets himself in a horrible tangle while trying to help a long punt back to his goalkeeper, then drags down Demba Ba, who would have been clean through on goal if he hadn't been fouled by the centre-half. Free-kick for West Ham about four yards outside the Manchester United penalty area and the League leaders can consider themselves blessed they're not down to 10 men.
43 min: Replays suggest the ball may have followed through to Tomasz Kuszczak after bouncing, without Ba getting to it first, which would explain why Vidic wasn't sent off. That said, he could have had few complaints if he had been given his marching orders. Man United's defence is all over the place - proving hopeless in the face of West Ham's Route One tactic.
45 min: There'll be two minutes of added time. That booking for Vidic reminded me that Darron Gibson got booked earlier for a foul on - I think - Mark Noble. Apologies for not mentioning it earlier, but I was probably distracted by a very important throw-in or goal-kick.
Half-time That's an extraordinary half of football - despite being thoroughly outplayed for the opening half hour, West Ham go in two goals to the good, having thoroughly bamboozled Manchester United with a series of long punts forward into the box which you'd think would be meat and drink to the United back four, but have caused them all sorts of problems. I expect Fergie's hair-dryer will be out at half-time.
Ryan Dunne writes, again: "Ulysses is great!" he enthuses. "Just read it for uni. It challenges social conventions by having scatalogical and w**king scenes, and also by subverting gender norms and exploding the distinction between proper (myth etc) and base (journalism etc) literary hierarchies. I'd rank it higher than Beckett, Guinness and nobbly sticks, although somewhat behind U2 and Oscar Wilde. Finnegans Wake is pish tho." Somebody's been reading their York Notes. Swot.
Humble apologies for the delay: I've been having terrible technical problems trying to bring you updates. Not sure what was wrong, but I think I've fixed it now.
Second half: The teams emerge for the second half, with Manchester United bringing on Little "Javier Hernandez" Pea on for Patrice Evra. The French left-back isn't injured, it's a tactical switch. Ryan Giggs drops back to left-back. Strange.
55 min: To sum up - West Ham have been under the cosh for the opening 10 minutes of the second half, but are defending stoutly. Hernandez had a decent chance with his first touch of the ball, but failed to score. He was just put through on goal again, only to be penalised for a foul on Manuel da Costa.
57 min: Rooney breaks for Manchester United after picking up a pass from Ryan Giggs. On the edge of the final third and unsure what to do next, he's dispossessed by Scott Parker, who clears West Ham's lines.
58 min: Manuel da Costa picks up a yellow card for clattering into the back of Wayne Rooney about 35 yards from the West Ham goal. Free-kick for Man Utd. The ball's pinged into the mixer, Vidic tries to get on the end of it and it drops for Smalling, who miscontrols on the edge of the six-yard box.
61 min: Gibson sends Rooney on his way and the United striker thunders into the West Ham penalty area, before pinging the ball left towards Valencia. West Ham clear.
63 min: Mark Noble concedes a free-kick a couple of yards outside his own penalty area on the right-hand side, for a mistimed tackle on Carrick. Manchester United use the break in play to bring on Dimitar Berbatov for Park Ji-sung.
GOAL! West Ham2-1 Man Utd (Rooney 64) That's a smashing goal from Rooney, who pings the ball over Thomas Hitzlsperger on the edge of a defensive wall that didn't jump and into the unguarded right-hand side of the goal.
67 min: West Ham substitution: Frederic Piquionne on, Carlton Cole off.
68 min: A promising looking West Ham attack breaks down when Demba Ba picks up a cross-field pass from Parker, gives to Hitzlsperger on the edge of the final third and goes. Except he didn't give to Hitzlsperger; there was a breakdown in communication between the pair and instead Ba passed it straight to a Manchester United defender.
70 min: Hitzlsperger tries to play Piquionne through on goal with a deft pass from midfield, but the substitute upends Nemanja Vidic with a sly nudge during the chase to the ball and the referee awards a free-kick to Manchester United.
GOAL! West Ham 2-2 West Ham (Rooney 71) That's a marvellous goal from Rooney. Marked by two defenders as he stood with his back to goal on the edge of the penalty area being, he took both out with his first touch as he controlled a low cross from the right from Giggs, before turning and rifling a low, diagonal drive into the bottom right-hand corner. It's all square at Upton Park.
75 min: Corner for Manchester United, which Giggs swings in from the left. Da Costa heads clear. The ball's returned to the penalty area and this time Upson clears his lines.
76 min: Piquionne sends in a looping cross from the inside-right position, which Kuszczak flaps at, before gathering safely at his second attempt. That brief bit of respite for West Ham aside, the Manchester United pressure is relentless.
77 min: Penalty for Manchester United - and it's a ridiculous one. From the byline, Fabio Da Silva kicks the ball against Matthew Upson's outstretched arm and Lee Mason points to the spot.
GOAL! West Ham 2-3 Manchester (Rooney 78pen) Far be it from me to gloat, but I told Sean Ingle Manchester United would win this easily. Wayne Rooney slots the ball into the bottom right-hand corner, sending Rob Green the wrong way.
80 min: Darron Gibson blazes the ball over the bar from just inside the West Ham penalty area, after being teed up perfectly by Dimitar Berbatov. He should have scored.
81 min: There's a debate raging in our office over whether that should have been a penalty or not. Ingle is adamant that it was ball to hand, and I'm inclined to agree with him, but pedantry's Philip Cornwall, who is rarely wrong about anything, ever, insists that, because Upson's arms were outstretched at the time the ball hit them, the spot-kick should have been awarded.
GOAL! West Ham 2-4 Manchester United (Little Pea 83) Javier Hernandez pokes the ball into the empty net from all of three-yards out after a low diagonal cross from Giggs on the left flank nutmegs Matthew Upson and rolls through the corridor of uncertainty between flailing goalkeeper and hapless defenders. Meanwhile in Mumbai, Sri Lanka have set India a target of 275 and Sehwag is out second ball.
87 min: Man United substituion: Rooney off, Nani on. West Ham substitutions just before United scored their fourth goal: Roobie Keane and Victor Obinna on, Mark Noble and Gary O'Neil off.
88 min: West Ham's players are playing down the clock, going through the motions with the air about them of men who are all too aware the jig is up. They rattled United with their early goals against the run of play, but the League leaders showed huge strength of character to come from behind to take all three points. Wayne's Rooney's return to form on the run-in to season's end is obviously an added bonus for United and will send a chill down the spine of their title rivals.
90 min: There'll be four minutes of added time, so there will.
90 + 3 min: The camera pans to Wayne Rooney on the subsitutes' bench, just in time to catch him hoicking up a big gully and spitting it on the deck. Somebody's mother has to clean that up, Wayne!
90+4 min: Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeep! It's all over and Manchester United take the points, cementing their place at the top of the table after a marvellous turnaround. Wayne Rooney won it for them with his fourth Premier League hat-trick, scored inside 15 second-half minutes, with Javier Hernandez sealing the win with his 17th goal of the season.
Post-match email: "Did the UK sound pick up Wayne Rooney saying "fuck" and "fucking hell" straight into the camera after he dispatched the penalty?" asks Alastair Stuart. "It was clear as a bell on the feed to Fox Sports in Australia." Oh, it was clear as a bell here too, Alastair - so much so that the commentator felt compelled to apologise on potty-mouthed Wayne's behalf.